Former Ballet Dancer Impressed with Shen Yun Classical Chinese Dance

February 5, 2012 Updated: August 14, 2015

VANCOUVER, Canada—Classical Chinese dance took centre stage on Sunday for the last 2012 Vancouver performance by Shen Yun Performing Arts.

Classically trained ballet dancer Jane MacCallum took in the show at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, and said she appreciated the unique characteristics of classical Chinese dance.

“They were very, very good in their style,” she said. “Its very beautiful.”

Ms. MacCallum was impressed with the precise synchronicity of the performers, who often perform large group dances that include up to 20 dancers on stage at once.

“It was very synchronized dancing—Much more synchronized than we do in [ballet],” she said.

New York-based Shen Yun is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company.

With a mission to revive divinely-inspired traditional Chinese culture, the company performs a collection of small dance pieces featuring classical Chinese dance and ethnic or folk dances that have been passed down in China for thousands of years.

Ms. MacCallum said the dance-stories expressed a unique Chinese flavour.

“The basic form of dancing is there but it’s used very differently in the Chinese style … Very different stories to tell.”

According to the Shen Yun’s website classical Chinese dance includes the three main components of bearing, form, and technical skill. Bearing, the company says, is the translation of a Chinese term that can be best translated as “a particular inner spirit.”

“Bearing emphasizes internal spirit, breath, intent, personal aura, and deep emotional expression. In essence, the spirit leads form, so that form is imbued with spirit,” the website says.

Ms. MacCallum said all the elements of the production came together beautifully.

“The costumes are beautiful, the dancing is very good—I think it’s a combination of everything that’s so lovely,” she said.

Shen Yun has three companies touring the world. The production will return to Canada in April to perform in Calgary, Edmonton, and Regina.

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